Swedish singer/songwriter Erik Hassle must have had quite the relationship when he started recording for his next project. The result, an album called Mariefred Sessions, came together when Martin Sköld and Jocke Berg (of alternative rock group Kent) wanted to continue recording after a summer tour.
The album’s short set starts off with a bang with “Are You Leaving,” a dark electro number that tells the story of a past relationship that still haunts you. The tormented lyrics paint a surprisingly dreary picture which is offset by its pulsing beat.
The tempo doesn’t let up with standout “Sometimes When It Rains,” a more upbeat number and perhaps the most commercial leaning, where Hassle’s dramatic vocals explain how he finds comfort in his lover while cozying up in the rain.
The EP starts to slow down a bit with the rock pop midtempos “I Am Not an Island,” “Stay Away” and “Stains.” These tracks are sonically reminiscent to the sound of his debut, Pieces. Speaking of reminiscing, “Stay Away” plays out like a sequel to Hassle’s breakout single “Hurtful.” He pleads for his failed love to stay away as the guitars strum to a structure not unfamiliar to a Coldplay or Snow Patrol rock ballad.
While some may be too impatient to appreciate the gradual grandiose buildup of “Stains,” it only draws the listener that much closer to the experiences Hassle conveys. “Nights are getting longer, feelings growing stronger; please don’t make me break up!” Hassle shout-sings his way through the addictive chorus.
Hassle’s emotive vocal delivery and illustrative song writing are captivating throughout this release. He has an impressive way of letting his heart lay on his sleeve while still maintaining dignity and power, vocally. The stories he’s allowed the listener in on are deeply personal and at times, heart breaking. The intimate details he offers and risks he takes pay off with the connection that is only magnified by hearing these familiar stories many of us have been through.
This collection of electronic pop and light rock takes the listener along the emotional rollercoaster ride that occurs in even the strongest relationships. From the sweetness and vulnerability of needing someone close showcased in “Sometimes When It Rains” on to feeling unappreciated by the one person you care most about in “I Am Not an Island.” Lastly, he brings us to that bittersweet feeling that so often comes with surrendering yourself in love in “Arrows.”
Mariefred Sessions is a journey not to be missed. Out now via Roxy Records (Universal).
– Submitted by Tristan Bolden, Music Design
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